Zambeef Plc has denied ever importing contaminated meat products from Europe into the country.
Zambeef Plc Chief Executive Officer Francis Grogan said the firm has always adhered to strict regulations on food safety in it’s over 22 years of meat business.
Mr. Grogan said allegations that Zambeef imported meat products fromthe US, the UK and Ireland that tested positive to a harmful chemical called Aldehyde used for embalming dead bodies are part of a smear campaign by a disgruntled former employee named Gregory Kapasa.
“This Kapasa is the one who is behind this story. He is currently appearing in court after Zambeef sued him for leaking company information. He was fired and he started pushing that he be paid more money than he was entitled to and the company refused after which he started threatening that he will bring down Zambeef. This is absurd,” Mr. Grogan said.
It was imperative that we conduct our own independent tests because we have difficulties with the authenticity of the test results conducted by government.
He said Zambeef only imports roughly 2 percent of its meat products mostly offals from Europe and are shipped in Zambia in a frozen using containers.
“When we import meat from Europe, no chemicals are added to the meat. It is simply frozen and loaded in containers all the way down here. It is not touched whatsoever.”
He said Zambeef has since withdrawn all imported meatproducts from the shelf to pave way for further independent tests.
Mr. Grogan stated that only local beef and beef products are currently being sold in all its outlets.
‘We have recalled all the meat from our butcheries. We have commenced independent tests on those withdrawn products at Bamora Livestock Research centre and Eurofin Group, an international group of laboratories head-quartered in Luxemburg with 180 sites in 35 countries.
He added, “It was imperative that we conduct our own independent tests because we have difficulties with the authenticity of the test results conducted by government. These are tests that are done in the middle of the night and we are not even informed of the protocols used.”
Those allegations are unfounded and Mr. Hichilema is not connected to Zambeef, we have also heard of those rumours but there is no truth in that.”
Mr. Grogan said he was confident that the test results would clear Zambeef.
“I’m 100 percent confident that we will be vindicated after the tests are concluded.”
On reports that Zambeef could be targeted because of its perceived strong links to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema following President Michael Sata’s instructions to state agencies to investigate Mr. Hichilema’s source of wealth, Mr. Grogan said Zambeef does not deal with Mr. Hichilema in anyway.
“For us, Mr. Hichilema is more of a competitor because we understand he owns a meat company. He is not our key supplier. We get most of our products from small scale farmers in Namwala, Choma and places like Kalomo. Those allegations are unfounded and Mr. Hichilema is not connected to Zambeef, we have also heard of those rumours but there is no truth in that.”